Elected officials, business leaders and housing advocates rallied on Monday against proposed changes to the Atlantic Yards project in Prospect Heights that seeks to add another 105,000 square feet of new development.

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, Assemblymembers Walter Mosley and Jo Anne Simon, and Councilmembers Laurie Cumbo and Brad Lander called for more accountability while New York State Empire State Development (ESD), the state’s economic development corporation, plans to approve the developer’s proposal with no environmental review and no additional public benefits.

“The latest proposal from Empire State Development is deeply concerning to me, especially since the long-awaited public benefits at the Atlantic Yards project haven’t materialized yet,” said Adams. “The community deserves transparency on this plan, not back-room deals with little to no public input.”

In July 2019, developers requested to add space for a fitness center and field house beneath apartment towers planned for the block of Dean Street between Vanderbilt Avenue and Carlton Avenue, a use not included in previous Atlantic Yards environmental reviews. The Atlantic Yards project, later rebranded as “Pacific Park,” was first approved by the state in 2006 and is a $5 billion mega-project that includes the Barclays Center and the development of 16 buildings for residential and commercial use.

550 Vanderbilt, one of 16 buildings that will bring retail and residential space, including affordable housing units, to Prospect Heights under the Pacific Park umbrella. Rendering: pacificparkbrooklyn.com

The group of stakeholders and advocates, which included representatives from the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council, IMPACCT Brooklyn and the North Flatbush Business Improvement District, called on Governor Andrew Cuomo to withhold his approval until an environmental review has been completed and the public has had an opportunity to weigh in. 

“Traffic from Atlantic Yards construction and events at the Barclays Center arena have created significant disruption to residents and businesses near the project for the last 12 years,” said Robert Witherwax, chair of the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council. “The state owes the community an independent assessment of what the impact of the fitness center and field house will be, and must hear the concerns of the project’s thousands of neighbors.”

Elected officials demanded that the Atlantic Yards developers present a plan that outlines how they intend to meet their obligation to complete 2,250 affordable housing units by 2025.

“The housing crisis in Brooklyn gets larger every day,” said Cumbo. “At this point, the priority must be delivery of Atlantic Yards’ affordable apartments. Families facing displacement can’t take a back seat to additional demands from the project’s developers. We need to hear how the 2025 deadline will be met, and we need to hear it now.”

Meanwhile, ESD plans to vote this Thursday on whether or not to approve the proposal.

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Andrea Leonhardt

“Made in Germany,” Andrea Leonhardt is the managing editor for BK Reader. Andrea holds a bachelor’s degree in political science, with minors in American studies and education, and a master’s...

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